Rice – I’d love to play against Spurs

Declan Rice

Declan Rice is hoping to build on the considerable experience he has already gained at the start of the 2017/18 season by featuring in Slaven Bilic’s side to take on Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

The 18-year-old was back at centre-half for the Carabao Cup victory against Bolton Wanderers in midweek and impressed as the Hammers kept a third straight clean sheet.

Having played in four of the first five Premier League games of the season, Republic of Ireland U21 international Rice would relish the opportunity to take on West Ham’s north London rivals.

“I hadn’t played at centre-half since pre-season, so Tuesday was my first time back there and it did feel a bit different again getting used to it, but after the first half I felt back at it and more comfortable.

“The manager said in the pre-match [meeting] that places are open and that really fired me up. Hopefully I caught the eye on Tuesday and now we’ve got two more training sessions before the Spurs game and hopefully I get selected for that one.

“It would be the best feeling ever to play. You can only gain experience from playing against players like Kane, Alli and Eriksen and that’s what’s going to stand me in good stead.”

Looking further ahead, Rice would love to take the Hammers’ Carabao Cup run further, with Tuesday’s victory putting them potentially three victories from a Wembley appearance.

He added: “There’s so much history in the cup for West Ham and we want to go on a good run and get to Wembley.

“We dominated possession against Bolton and that was the thing, we had to make a statement. We had to win, get through to the next round and now we’ll hope for a good cup run.”